Anthology of Contemporary Indian Poetry

Malay Roychoudhury

Chicken Roast

Puff your plume in anger and fight, cock, delight the owner of knife
smear sting with pollen and flap your wings
As I said : Twist both arms and force them stoop
roll the rug and come down the terrace
                                                  after fragmented  sleep
Shoe-boots----rifle---whirring bullets---shrieks---

The aged undertrial in the next cell weeps
                                                   and wants to go home
Liberate me...Let me go...Let me go home...
On its egg in the throne the gallinule doses
asphyxiate in dark.
Fight back, cock, die and fight, shout with the dumb.

Glass splinters on tongue---breast muscles quiver
Fishes open their gills and enfog water.
Apiece of finger wrapped in pink paper 
With eyes covered someone wails in the jailhouse
                                       I can't make out if man or woman

Keep the eyelash on left-hand palm---
                                      and blow off with your breath
Fan out snake-hood in mist
Cobra's abdomen shivers in the hiss of feminine urination
Deport to crematorium stuffing blood-oozing nose 
                                                            in cottonwool
Shoes Brickbats and Torn pantaloons enlitter streets

I smear my feet with waves picked up from stormy sea
Those are the alphabets I drew on for letters

(A translation of Murgir Roast, from the original Bengali)


Who claims I'm ruined? Because I'm without fangs and claws?
Are they necessary? How do you forget the knife
plunged in abdomen up to the hilt? Green cardamom leaves
for the buck, Art of hatred and anger
and of war, gagged and tied Santhal woman, 
                                                           pink of lungs shattered
by a restless dagger?
Pride of sword pulled back from heart? I don't have
songs or music. Only shrieks, when mouth is opened
wordless odour of the jungle; corner of kin and sin-sannyas.
Didn't pray for a tongue to take back the groans
power to gnash and bear it. Fearless gunpowder bleats:
stupidity is the sole faith---maimed generosity---
I leap on the gambling table, knife in my teeth.
                                                            Encircle me
rush in from tea and coffee plateaux 
in your gumboots of pleasant wages
the way Jarasandha's genital is bisected
                                                     and diamonds glow.
Skill of beating up is the only wisdom.
In misery I play the burglar's stick like a flute
brittle affection of the wax-skin apple
She ants undress their wings
                             before copulating or death maybe
I thump my thighs with alternate shrieks:
                                  Vacate the Universe
get out you omnicompetent
Conch-shell in scratching monkey-hand
lotus and mace and discus-blade
Let there be salt-rebellion of your own saline sweat
along the gunpowder let the flint run towards explosion
Marketeers of words daubed in darkness
in the midnight filled with young dog's grief
in the sick-noon of a grasshopper sunk in insecticide
I reappear to exhibit the charm of stiletto.

( A translation of Prostuti )

Throne of the Weevil

O ant-sucker tongue of the shy mammal
delighted in one-horned matrimony
terrestrial aqua and aerial
host-beast of smuggler moll
ruminant antelope
earth-roamer watercat the perfumed bitch
ate up sonorous blackhole and established
a slave kingdom in this ditch.

( Translation of Ghunpokar Singhason )